Pret A Manger Misleading Packaging (Updated Aug. 2019)

 

… and Pret’s deleted Tweet on a new bogus reason for hidden “air” behind the cardboard packaging.

 


 

UPDATE 26. Feb. 2019: Class-action lawsuit in New York against Pret settled.

 


 

I have listed a few customer complaints on Pret’s misleading, and what some call “deceptive” packaging in “Class Action vs. Pret For Deceptive Packaging” and the different versions from Pret why this happens. But the list below is just the tip of the iceberg. Not all customers flock to Twitter with photos, and I worked in Pret knowing how common this issue is.

One of the last and most ridiculous reasons Pret gave has been deleted after Pret read that blog entry.

In this blog entry I just want to give a visual throughout the years, briefly touching on the lawsuit and again the deleted Tweet at the end. These complaints are only the ones customers care to show on Twitter.

 


 

A list on mostly cold Salad Wraps and a few Hot Wraps. Plus Pret’s mostly repetitive responses with some change of versions later:

 

2012-08-20 wrap air

20. Aug. 2012

 

2012-12-27 Air Wrap

27. Dec. 2012

 

2013-11-17 Air Wrap

16. Nov. 2013

 

2014 2018 Air Wrap

2014 and 2018

 

2014-06-21 wrap air no response fr pret

21. June 2014 (No response from Pret)

 

2014-03-10 Air Wrap

10. Mar. 2014

 

2014-03-25 Air Wrap

25. March 2014

 

2014-04-16 Air Wrap

16. Apr. 2014

 

2014-06-09 Air Wrap

09. June 2014

 

2015-04-14 no hummus wrap

14. Apr. 2015

 

2015-04-15 hummus wrap air pret response

15. Apr. 2015

 

2015-04-23 Air Wrap

23. Apr. 2015

 

2015-05-27 Air Wrap

27. May 2015

 

2015-08-13 Air Wrap

13. Aug. 2015

 

2016-06-25 wrap air now doesnt look right

25. June 2016

 

2016-06-27 Air Wrap USA

27. June 2016

 

2016-08-17 wrap air pret response

17. Aug. 2016

 

2016-08-25 Air Wrap

25. Aug. 2016

 

2016-09-17 Air Wrap USA

07. Sep. 2016

 

2016-10-12 wrap air usa plus pret response

12. Oct. 2016 USA

 

2017-02-15 wrap air plus pret response

15. Feb. 2017

 

2017 march aug

March / Aug 2017

 

2017-04-19 Air Wrap

19. Apr. 2017

 

05. May 2017 Little Ingredient (lots of complaints on Twitter on this)

 

17. May 2017 Pret A Ripp-Off

2017-05-17 Air Wrap NEW discovered

2017-07-11 air wrap

11. July 2017

 

2017-08-01 Air Wrap USA

01. Aug. 2017

2017-08-07 shrimp wrap shrink wrap

07. Aug. 2017 Another really bad one, that’s more a Thai “Shrink” Wrap!

 

2017 humour

A little humour on the house!

 

2017-08-21 wrap air news no pret response

21. Aug. 2017 USA

 

2017-10-10 wrap air 2 for price of 1

10. Oct. 2017 TWO for the price of ONE!!

Misleading Packaging AND hardly any ingredients!

 

2018-01-17 wrap air no pret response

17. Jan 2018 (no response from Pret)

 

2018-02-06 wrap air disguised pret response

06. Feb. 2018

 

2018-02-23 wrap doesnt look right at all

23. Feb. 2018

 

2018-04-20 Air Wrap USA

20. Apr. 2018 It took Pret 3 days to respond!

 

2018-04-26 Air Wrap

26. Apr. 2018

 

2018-05-22 wrap air stingy incl pret response

22. May 2018 Pret admits the wrap is a “little stingy”

 

2016-10-06 wrap air no response from pret

06. Oct. 2018 (no response from Pret)

 

2018-10-10 wrap air usa plus pret response

10. Oct. 2018 USA

 

 

2018-10-16 hot wrap

16. Oct. 2018 Hot Wrap

 

Here is where the “… it looks like it has been wrapped too tightly” version starts:

 

2018-10-24 wrapped too tightly

24. Oct. 2018

 

2018-10-29 usa wrap full tweet feed

29. Oct. 2018 USA

 

2018-11-06 hot wrap

06. Nov. 2018 Hot Wrap

 

2018-11-12 ongoing wrap issue

12. Nov. 2018 Little Duck more Spinach, badly wrapped … ongoing Tweets

 

2018-11-13 hot wrap

13. Nov. 2018 Hot Wrap

 

NEW 2018-11-14 Air Wrap

14. Nov. 2018

 

2018-11-17-wrap-air.jpg

17. November 2018 This is the worst so far! And no response from Pret!

 

2018-12-07 wrap

07. Dec. 2018

 

2019-01-12 duck wrap

12. Jan. 2018 Little Duck, lots of Greens

 

 

New reason for “air” wrap which was later deleted!

 

2019-01-13 another wrap misleading package before delete

13. Jan. 2019 Pret’s NEW reason for packaging “deception” which was later deleted! (After my other blog entry “Class Action vs Pret” and Pret visiting especially on the 14. Jan. 2019).

Original Tweet BEFORE Pret deleted it:

2019-01-13 another wrap misleading package3

 

But NOW it leads to this deleted page

2019-01-27 pret deleted tweet re packaging

 

The whole feed again before Pret deleted their Tweet:

2019-01-13 another wrap misleading package before delete

Natalie Raybold’s Tweet here has no Tweet above anymore, as it is deleted.

 

And here a VISUAL of public complaints dating back to 2011

Not everyone goes public, these are only those that customers bother reporting.
I stopped going further back.

 

2019-01-14 wrap

14. Jan. 2019

 

2019-01-14 flatbread

14. Jan. 2019 Flatbread living up to its name: FLAT

 

2019-01-25 no hoison in duck wrap

25.01.2019 No Hoison in expensive Hoison Duck Wrap

 

 

2019-01-25 bang chicken wrap no chicken

25.01.2019 Bang Bang Chicken Flop

 

2019-01-25 spicy chicken wrap stingy

25.01.2019 Spicy Chicken Flop

 

2019-02-13 Wrap air

12.02.2019 Bigger in Japan!

 


 

As the case is settled now, the “wrapped too tightly” version started again…

 


 

2019-02-23 air wrap

23.02.2019 Pret A Gap Wrap

 

2019-02-26 Bang Bang air wrap

26.02.2019 Pret A Light Wrap

 

2019-04-12 Customer on wrap air2

Link

 

2019-04-24 Wrap air

Link

 

Mind the BIGGEST Gap!

2019-04-27 Air Wrap2

 

2019-05-01 Air Wrap

Another huge gap 1st May 2019

 

2019-05-06 Air Wrap

06.05.2019 … and another one…

 

And with the one from 06.05 someone cared enough to confront Pret:

2019-05-06 Customer referring to my blog air wrap3

 

In context:

2019-05-06 Customer referring to my blog air wrap2

Link

 

2019-05-10 Air Wrap USA.jpg

09.05.2019 USA

 

2019-05-28 Air Wrap Video3

28.05.2019

 

2019-06-06 Air Wrap

06.06.2019

 

NEW 2019-06-24 Air Wrap no pic

24. June 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-01 Air Wrap

01. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-03 Air Wrap

03. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-10 Air Flat Wrap

10. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-24 Air Wrap

24. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-26 Air Wrap

26. July 2019

 

NEW 2019-07-29 Air Wrap USA

29. July 2019

 

2019-08-06 Air Wrap

06. August 2019

 

2019-08-07 Air Wrap

07. Aug. 2019

 

Since having settled the lawsuit, Pret’s having a laugh with a customer who helps them; the wrap looks like having been a little stretched out here:

2019-08-07 Air Wrap taking mick

Also 07. Aug. 2019

 

2019-09-09 Air Wrap

09. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-21 Air Wrap

21. Aug. 2019

 

2019-08-27 Air Wrap

27. Aug. 2019 USA

One solution would be for staff to just “spread” the wrap to fill the package!

2018-11-12 spread out long wrap air

12. Nov. 2018

 

2019-06-17 NO air wrap

12. June 2019 This looks like after a team brief about all the complaints on Twitter, so staff spread it out as much as possible! 😀

 

etc…

 

Using an example from the animal kingdom. THIS is what Pret packaging does to people:

>>> A dog’s life

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – Present expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved.

 

Quote of the Day 65 – #Pret A Politics

 

A review from a current employee on Pret’s office management from 23. Jan. 2019. Some people continue to work in Pret and it seems like they’re crying out via Employment Review sites. And as many current and former Pret staff know my website, they know I will add any of those kinds of reviews as Pret is checking my website. Yes, they are, I’m not gonna tell the reader how I know. But thank you Pret for stopping by again! I hope you find some useful things, not to better cover up what you do and sweep under the carpet again, but to truly change how staff are treated behind the facade. It may even save a life! Thank you.

 

 

pixabay_office-2463928__340

 

 

Quote:

“Great brand, poor management”

“Poor management resulting in poor decisions. Office culture is working really really long hours. No work life balance whatsoever and constant office politics.

Spend more time speaking to the teams and find out what’s going on.”

 

So, this current employee loves the brand, even has a positive outlook for Pret, and remains an employee, but does not improve of the CEO Clive Schlee. I have to mention here that Pret’s HQ has always been an open space office, even the CEO sits at a desk not hidden away in a closed office. And he speaks to people. This looks good and transparent. So, there is exposure, and the office and people are visible, but even in an open space office you can still play your games and have your pretenses.

And like I mentioned in the Manchester Quote in yesterday’s blog entry that the CEO himself explained in an interview posted on YouTube, that he “really knows his people”. And again, that’s why he has no excuse how the atmosphere in Pret is, be it the harsh, stressful and bullying work environment in shops, or the politics and favouritism in HQ, as well as the offices in other countries. One angry reviewer exploded in late October 2018 about the discrimination of staff in the USA: Go back to the UK, Pret I have never worked in such a toxic, unprofessional corporate environment. Employees relocating from UK were given preferential treatment, better salaries for equal experience…”

And also, true reviews will keep coming in until Pret really becomes what they claim to be as supposedly such a caring and great company. I recently wrote about suspected fake reviews (Oh, oh I sound like Mr. Twitter Champ now!). But I analyzed some reviews that look fake in “Pret A Manger Reviews“.

 

Today’s “Quote of the Day” review:

 

2019-01-23 office politics poor management

Link

 

people

 

Featured in “Quotes of the Day” selected Pret reviews and long list of “Pret Staff Complaints“.

 

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Quote of the Day 64 – #Pret A Manchester

 

 

invisible disability tweet fr @murilyn123

Link

 

This new review from 22. Jan. 2019 gets my attention because of the discrimination I have experienced after having become bereaved, and through the bullying from superiors via HR mentally very unwell. I was shouted at, suppressed, even as a responsible leader for shifts and teams excluded from meetings (even a Christmas dinner in 2017 after I just returned from Germany when my father woke from his coma). I was laughed at, one manager said to me after I was “dumped” into his shop due to the open bullying by another line manager, I was told by my new boss that he “doesn’t want the area to feel sorry” for him anymore … etc. etc. etc.

I cover this in “Discrimination: Physical vs. Mental“. Because I was in the middle of a grievance appeal’s hearing where the grievance that was raised by an HR advisor on behalf of me, was entirely rejected, even though witness statements of the previous line manager shouting at me, and me breaking down, and him sending me out to the shop floor in a broken down state. I was like in a mental war-zone, stumbling through a mine field being “shot” at from all angles while trying to find out what happened to my brother.  Regular readers know the story that is spread throughout this website and will turn into a chronological book.

But this new review from a Manchester Pret shop needs to be highlighted and posted.

Quote (I leave any mistakes in to keep it in their own words, bold added by me):

 

Further:

“bad management. rota’s only done 1 week at a time

need to hire different managers, ones that respect staff. the ones there now, shout at staff, don’t understands there cicumstances or disabilities

 

I wish I could tell that person that Pret’s management is like this across the board and that the top leadership, CEO, HR etc. know exactly what’s going on, but they are in a bubble up in HQ and flying out to Dubai, Las Vegas, Austria for their parties, and using former homeless people for PR.

Many employees, especially on the shop floor and kitchens assume that the top leadership are not aware of how managers are, they don’t understand yet that the fish stinks from its head. I used to give Pret the benefit of the doubt too much, while deep down knowing and understanding the principles of leadership and how it trickles down from the top, that leaders LEAD by example, including bad example!

That is why the CEO Clive Schlee does his smiley front, compensates the harsh work environment by using former homeless people, visits shops regularly etc. He has no excuse whatsoever to claim that he doesn’t know what’s going on. He always puts his foot in his mouth and clearly showing that he knows his people, quote from an interview on YouTube, from 0:38 onward:

“… overall it conveys a message that the Pret A Manger boss REALLY knows his people, and knows who they are, and not just what they do.”

Yes, he does! And HR know their people, too, that’s why they continued to place me under poor and suppressive management EVEN during the stressful grievance hearings and traumatic bereavement, in the hopes I’d resign. But even 4 settlements didn’t do it, so they eventually fired me. And I survived to publicly write about this toxic company.

 

2019-01-22 manchester manager sacking disabilities

Link

 

 

Featured in “Quotes of the Day” selected Pret reviews and long list of “Pret Staff Complaints“.

 

 

©2019 LateNightGirl.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

#ShadowBanned – #Censored Re: Pret A Manger

 

prison_censored_business-2804446__340

 

 

I decided to do an extra blog entry about the issues of “shadow banning” on Twitter and other social media platforms. Many people are shadow banned / censored and don’t even know about it. Too bad for Pret A Manger, because I planned to phase out my Pret “rants” to a great degree but then these shadow bans are like a reminder that I am not doing anything wrong, and the public needs to know how it is behind the PR[et] facade that I survived.

As the whole subject of shadow banning is still relatively new to me this blog entry will evolve and change, as I gather more information adding to this post. Every change I will start with: UPDATE and then the date with it as I don’t have the strength to do it all today. But really want to start on this to draw people’s attention to this issue that is so rampant on various social media services. I am  a “regular customer” to shadow banning and should get a loyalty card! I am being banned everytime I post a very direct tweet regarding some dishonest Pret statement or my knowledge from how it is behind the scenes.

I get banned especially when I write about the Mystery Shopper and how staff are drilled to be smiley, happy and friendly ALL day in a highly intense, fast-paced and stressful work environment. And no-one stops to think for a moment how this can be, except very few people. Staff are pressured to serve each customer within 1 minute etc. Customers go on Twitter to commend shop staff, which is great, but they don’t know what really is behind this “happiness” while team members work under fear management, depression, low pay and so on.

 

2018-12-14 Customer recognizes forced friendliness happiness

Link

 

Former Pret employee who was fired for starting a Union, second tweet about the Mystery Shopper with the hashtag #EndTheMysteryShopper:

 

2018-05-09 pamsu endthemysteryshopper

Link

 

Collection of staff reviews on the fake and forced smiles, happiness, friendliness that is probed weekly by Mystery Shoppers:

 

Fake Smile Robin Williams

Link

 

 

What is shadow banning? Brief Wikipedia intro:

Shadow banning (also called stealth banning, ghost banning or comment ghosting[1]) is the act of blocking or partially blocking a user or their content from an online community such that it will not be readily apparent to the user that they have been banned.

By making a user’s contributions invisible or less prominent to other members of the service, the hope may be that in the absence of reactions to their comments, the problematic or otherwise out-of-favour user will become bored or frustrated and leave the site.[1][2]

 

What I don’t like with this definition, though is that the author of this Wiki entry calls the shadow banned user “problematic” as if to say they are a problem or trouble makers, while some may be, but many raise awareness. And while I don’t agree with certain political ideologies, as long as they don’t call to arms or promote violence or discrimination, freedom of speech should be protected and respected. The option to block individual users is always there. And funny enough, in Pret’s case, neither Pret nor its CEO block me! The reason for this is partly because their mentality has always been to collect anything they can use against people in case of a court case. And no joke, the CEO also has learned a few things that I suggested while I still worked in Pret and has taken the credit for it.

Pret is also regularly asking customers for input. But while this seems noble to involve customers in bringing their ideas, I pointed out somewhere else that it is very naive when Pret asked the public for recipe ideas that many people are happy to give recipes away without first having patented it. Thus Pret is making millions on the naiveté of customers! 😀

And I am not blocked so that Pret stays informed about my writings on them. Be my guest Pret A Manipulator!

 

 

 

Twitter lying about not shadow banning:

Quote: “We do not shadow ban, you are always able to see the tweets from accounts you follow (although you may have to do more work to find them, like go directly to their profile).”

In the same sentence they say they don’t and do shadow ban!

 

 

My own explanation:

First of all, many other social media platforms shadow ban and to my shock Facebook even deletes links to my blog in PRIVATE messages!! This goes too far and I am looking into options how to approach this, as a normal mail they often ignore. Twitter has ignored my contacting them regarding my notifications of my second account having been completely wiped out!

 

facebook deleted messages re link

This link was just a link to my blog. I was able to do this many times before, but since recently, especially since I am aware of shadow banning, FB deleted many of my Facebook posts and some mails. But it doesn’t help, my message is still getting out. But deleting PRIVATE messages goes too far. I’m not a terrorist to be needing such censorship.

Also, I started another Facebook account with a brand new hotmail email address. But Facebook’s bot must have connected the new account to my LateNightGirl “campaign” and when I logged into my NEW and so far unused hotmail account connected with the new FB account, hotmail prompted me to enter my phone number as I supposedly sent a lot of emails. But I haven’t even sent ONE email as the account was a few days old and only in use for FB. So, FB must have informed Microsoft and they all are criss-crossing information! Unbelievable! You are made to be the villain while you raise awareness on toxic companies. Amazing.

Also on my second Twitter account I am since yesterday always prompted to verify with the phone number I signed up with. Usually when this happens it is because I sign in from another computer (different IP address) and Twitter gives the last two digits of my phone number. But since yesterday it seems that Twitter tries to confuse me to see if I have another phone number as it does not give me any digits:

 

2019-01-22 twitter phone verification without number

 

Other Tweeters complain that from their several thousand of followers, hundreds disappeared without any reason. This is the tip of the iceberg that has been going on for years with the majority of people not even knowing this is happening.

But in my own explanation, shadow banning is like you are sitting behind a mirrored glass in a police investigation room, you can see people, hear them talking, but they don’t see or hear you. I found a perfect GIF to describe this:

 

HitPaper

 

So, basically the bottom line is that you tweet your heart out, click “like”, Retweet (RT), follow, comment etc. but your followers don’t get notified. People can only see your tweets when they go directly to your “Tweets & Replies”. But who does that except a new person coming across some tweets and is curious what you write about. It would never cross the minds of your followers to go to your Tweets directly, for what, they know they get notified when you tweet, “like” something, not knowing you are banned and behind this wall. Also, others are not notified when I send a direct message (DM) and vice versa. Other times I and they are notified, but I am not notified of new “likes” and responses to my Tweets… partly shadow banned and seems at random. Whoever is doing this just seems to have a laugh deciding one day to ban my likes, other times my DM etc.

Fellow blogger, Niki Flow put it in brilliant words, quote:

“This shadow-banning is nothing more than a loophole around freedom of speech and an abuse of power to silence people whose opinions differ from whatever engineer institutes this ban. Even more chilling, this banning is almost certainly being purchased and used to whitewash reputations and cover corruption.”

From her own blog entry in her comments section: Week 3 Goals

Please check out her wonderful blog and support her, she’s a great inspiration and support to me.

So, on the bans, before I was told that I was shadow banned, I’d notice that my Tweets weren’t visible when I was logged out after having clicked on some Twitter links from my blog for example. I didn’t see my response Tweets to a post on Twitter, I only saw them while logged in. This feels like you’re going mad!! Niki Flow also rightly pointed out that this should be made illegal.

 

 

Some good links:

 

 

 

At 1:22 mins the woman is saying: “We’re trying to down rank it… we’re trying to get the shitty people to not show up.”

“Lovely” people these big companies are!

 

 

 

  • more to come…

 

 

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey’s hearing in Congress. This part is regarding shadow banning Democrats more than Republicans. The funny thing on Twitter is when I read the below hashtags that ALL sides are shadow banned! So, Trump supporters complain about Trump’s tweets being banned, Democrats complain they are being banned and it really seems like the above hidden camera investigation, where one of the Twitter staff says that he bans when he feels offended from a Trump content for example. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do NOT support Trump, but the way they censor is completely at their own discretion. Now this is the real serious stuff on China, Russia, political parties etc.

Jack Dorsey’s hearing:

 

 

 

 

Tester: www.ShadowBan.eu

This tester is outdated and needs to be reworked. I had conversations with one of the developers and they are aware and are working on an updated version as Twitter is a few steps ahead of this. I was happy to point out a few things on my own shadow bans which they didn’t even know was happening. So, this helps them develop a better program.

I see it in this way now, being shadow banned is more of an honour than a penalty for me. For one, I’m not alone, this happens to so many people if you take a look at the below hashtags on Twitter. And most importantly my Tweets, posts, writings are having an impact. As I am telling my story, not lying, having all the written evidence, and confront Pret and the CEO directly on Twitter, all they do via Twitter is to try and silence me. Well, thank you Pret for admitting that you have a lot to hide.

I also must say that this whole thing, writing my heart out and being shadow banned, has greatly relaxed me. Where I would normally get really anxious, nervous, angry and hectic in the past, especially during the darkest times in trauma, I am now just “chilled” and think, oh well, another ban. Yawn!

And I keep writing in a much more relaxed way. There comes a time when nothing matters anymore.

Please pass on the issue of shadow banning to everyone you know as this is still too hidden. It doesn’t need to be this blog entry, can be only the undercover hidden camera investigation on YouTube, Wiki etc. But please pass this issue on.

Thank you for reading, keep checking periodically as I’ll update with any new issues, as well as precise examples of my own bans with Screenshots, links etc. I will indicate any updates in the subject line with the date I added new info.

Have a wonderful ban-free time, and should you be banned, put your head up and keep speaking out as long as it is for information and the best and well-being of people and animals!!

 

 

Hashtags:

#ShadowBan
#ShadowBanned
#ShadowBanning
#NotToShadowban
#StopShadowBanning
#ShadowbanIsBullying
#ShadowBanningIsBullying
#Censorship
#FreeSpeech
#TwitterCensorship
etc.

 

 

prison_censored_business-2804446__340

 

 

©2019 LateNightGirl.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Pret A Manger Food Waste (UPDATED June 2019)

 

2019-01-19 bags of food text

Link

 

2016-01-28 food waste bin bags

Pic from @5awaga 28. Jan 2016 USA (I love the eaten apple “skeleton” in the midst of plenty of food)

 

05. June 2019

2019-06-06 Food Waste from Fridge to Bin

Link

The above are only a few of the photos customers bother to go on Twitter to complain. The problem is much larger as I wasted I don’t know how much food in 10 years, not to mention how food is wasted in the kitchens! The main problem is over-production where staff are stressed, pushed and bullied to produce huge amounts in little time… and a lot of it for the bin! And CEO Clive Schlee pockets £30 million after the JAB purchase. So, yes, Pret is desperate to uphold an image of “charity”. But so many issues are way out of balance. Not to mention how customer deaths and ignored warnings were dealt with until this became public… not to mention how staff are really treated behind the scenes and forced to smile for an extra £100 via the weekly Mystery Shopper visits. Or if the Mystery Shopper comments that staff didn’t smile, fear management is used and the threat of job loss as the bonus can be lost…

 

2018-10-21 #61 Slaves Company

Former TM review from 18. Oct. 2018

 

UPDATE April 2019 further below from the UK and the USA of Pret staff throwing food out even while a shop is still open. Again, if staff are overworked, underpaid, bullied (collected here) … they stop caring and sabotage the company, and unfortunately with it also those in need. I learned from a former Pret General Manager, working for the competition that when he was a Team Member and his manager bullied him and the team, they would throw whole food packages like cakes etc. out while doing the morning delivery checks. They were so angry at the manager that they threw NEW food items straight into the bin that came from the food supplier. They didn’t even mark it off the invoice because they wanted to created a huge unaccounted for the manager to sabotage the manager’s bonus.

 


 

As customers again keep going to Twitter with photos, videos and comments about seeing bags of food waste from Pret, instead of this being donated to those in need I want to explain why this is happening more than people realize and Pret wants to admit. I speak from 10 years as former Pret staff throwing countless bin bags of food away!

 

2019-01-10 video of binned food2

Twitter pic from @dwphilbrick video from NY

 

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

@amylsharpe >>> Undercover Report I suggested to Amy to go undercover to not just take my word for it.

 

amy sharpe waste bag

The Sunday Mirror photo. The most bags like this I remember wasting into the rubbish room at one time was 3 (THREE) bags in one night! Also, because some waste companies pick up rubbish in the morning, bags like this are stored in the rubbish room over night adding to the risk of pest, mice etc. being drawn in, especially over the weekend when there is no rubbish pick-up in some stores depending on the waste company, council etc.

Quote from Amy’s report: “At the end of the shift I apply allergen stickers to leftover sarnies, salads and pots. These are given to the homeless as part of the commendable Pret Foundation scheme. But there are never enough stickers and a bagful of perfectly edible food is binned each day.” (I underlined).

 

A pretty bleak and stern warning to Pret concerning donating food to the wrong place, as huge amounts are binned every day and donating to wrong places is not helping people to be self-sufficient. Worth watching the video in the Tweet:

 

2019-01-27 Wasted Food Binned wrong place donated to

Link to video message for Pret. This also shows how production is set too high, staff are stressed with doing too many products for the bin! But as long as businesses like Pret make their millions (CEO pockets £30 million for himself alone!) this waste issue will continue.

 

April 2019 USA

2019-04-03 USA food waste

Link … I love the wordplay “hangry”!

 

April 2019 UK

2019-04-09 New food waste in Bath

Link

 

In recent years Pret has been one of the trailblazers in giving left-over food each night to charity and people in need. But Pret is not the only one, they are just at the forefront “PR-ing” about it loudly. In the 1990’s I volunteered for a charity and once a week we were one of the places that Boots gave left-over sandwiches to us for distribution. Our day was Wednesday from the charities in the area (Notting Hill). This was in the mid 90s, 7 years after Pret started business in 1983 in Hampstead, was shut and restarted in 1986 in Victoria.

In my 10 years in Pret I don’t even want to think back on the amount of bin bags of food we had to throw away. In the beginning the reason for this waste was that at times charity did not pick it up or some shops did not have a Friday pick-up for example. Of course this could have been avoided by having teams go out to bring the food to places or call other neighbouring areas, as each area has their charities appointed for each shop. Some shops have 2, 3 or more charities who have their delegated day for the pick-up, like my charity had Wednesdays in the 90s with Boots.

But sending out the closing team sounds good on paper, but Pret staff are so swamped with work and exhausted by the end of the day to even bother bringing food out. And staff are not paid over-time while they are being over-worked, understaffed, given so many tasked to do. I was one of the few team leaders who was very organized and helped my teams instead of sitting in the office as leaders like to do. So, we often managed to finish on-time. But still then, we were extremely exhausted to do anything extra “on the house” after 9 or 10pm, while our bosses didn’t care if we worked longer unpaid. Managers in every shop like to cut hours to maximize profit and management bonuses. This in turn puts a humongous strain on staff and they are too exhausted and stop caring.

One Pret employee puts this in clear words: “Advice to Management – Either stop cutting hours or stop giving teams a ridiculous amount of tasks to complete.

 

2018-08-18 #50 Pret A Not Worth

Link

 

Another from a barista on 30.01.2019:

 

2019-02-02 Pret A Lack of Staff

Link

 

I can relate a lot to these reviews! It always seemed like managers enjoyed burdening down staff, while they sat in the office or left early to go home, not to mention not working on weekends. And the next day when tasks were not done, because team members were swamped unnecessarily with work, understaffed, exhausted, managers held their sermon in the office, telling off mainly the team leader and the team at times as well. It was a lose-lose situation and the point came that I had enough of this and sent my teams home on the dot of when our shift was supposed to finish. After having given overtime many times without pay I drew the line and suffered the consequences of not being the manager’s favourite.

But I didn’t care. My priority was the team’s welfare who most of them have families at home and with the shift finishing at 9 or 10pm they often hardly saw their kids. I made sure the most important tasks like health and safety, cleaning etc. was done, and other not vital issues I left undone. This at times helped because some managers then gave us an extra team member or allowed me to pay my team the extra time, because my managers knew how I worked, that my teams were not lazy, but gave their best every time.

And labelling food for charity started in 2015 or 2016, I can’t remember, but this added to the work load while not getting extra staff to finish all the work load Pret demands. So, with the labelling issue for charity I had to decide to keep to the very end. If we managed to finish important tasks we labeled the food. Many times we didn’t even have enough labels printed, or couldn’t find on the computer where the labels were for printing, or other organizational issues we had no time to solve. If we couldn’t label, I was instructed to throw the food out, even when charities came by and demanded the food! I had to refuse, apologize and explain how swamped we were with tasks but low on staff and not paid overtime. I only managed to give the persons picking up the food, if they wanted to eat something then and there where they had access to the allergen information in the shop.

In the beginning of labelling we would give unlabelled food to charity, but some charities would then complain to Pret HQ that the products weren’t labelled or partly labelled when we ran out of time or labels. Other charities got angry with us for NOT giving out unlabelled food. It was a constant struggle between the fronts. So, I made the decision that if my boss said to not give food out, they have to take it up with management. Little did I know WHY this was so important to label, as we were not informed of the two customers having died from unlabelled allergen hidden in products. There wasn’t even as much as a hint to be more vigilant with the labelling, except to not give food out to charity unlabelled. That was all, but no explanation as to why because there wasn’t any labelling for customers. It didn’t make sense at the time until when the deaths became public.

 

2018-06-21 pret food labels for charity

Charity allergen labelling posted on Twitter

 

But to work overtime a few minutes here and there without pay was not the issue for me, especially when emergencies happened like flooding, power-cut, accidents etc. And it was no issue for my teams either. If this was the exception it’s perfectly fine, but in Pret this was the rule and I had to draw the line. If an employer doesn’t care for their workforce, the workforce will not care for the company. Exceptions are always okay, but not exploitation and constant issues like this. And the above review is spot on as I experienced this for 10 years in shop after shop and was one of the very few to draw the line as my teams were always happy when I ran the shift as they knew they’d finish in time!

The lawsuit of 4000 Pret workers in the USA shows this as well: “Pret A Manger Settles Overtime Wage Claim” and the long list of Pret Staff Complaints I collected from various sites unto one page linking to each review. And Selected Quotes that really brings the stressful environment home which I experienced shop after shop with the last 3 years traumatically in bereavement.

But the issue of food being wasted each night, it is a bigger problem than Pret wants to admit. The only way for this to be minimized is for staff to be paid overtime or have enough team members on the shop floor who are TRULY trained, not just on paper, covering for all the tasks Pret expects.

 

A list of customer complaints, some with photos and video and some Updates on recent Tweets:

 

2018-03-05 breakfast baguettes out of time binned

Link

This issue Pret responds by claiming: “this is very concerning to hear as we donate our unsold cold food to the homeless throughout the UK. Can you DM us with which shop this was in and some more information on whether it was hot or cold food?”

First of all the constant repeat to get customers away from the public eye into private DM with the question of which shop while Pret knows EVERY shop does that. And to ask if this was hot or cold, Pret knows very well that “egg rolls from the COUNTER” are cold products! But this “pret”-ense (sorry, can’t help it!) of not knowing is bogus, because Pret sets the time for these breakfast baguettes in the morning as for 2 hours of shelf-life.

These baguettes are marked on the back from the time they are made in the kitchen to the time staff have to waste them as the quality decreases and the baguette becomes soggy when not refrigerated. If the OPs manager happens to come by, they often check the time of the product and the team leader responsible for the shift gets in trouble if the items are still on sale while the time has passed the expiration “hour”.

In my 10 years we were never ever instructed to keep them until the evening for charity. Never! They are supposed to be thrown without packaging into the green food waste bin behind the counter or in the kitchen. But again, because team members are so busy and stressed, they just chuck it in the regular bin. I managed many times to waste it into the food waste bin, but even while I worked very fast, I didn’t always manage and at times also threw it into the regular bins. It is just plainly impossible to follow the ridiculous amount of demands Pret sets, especially when managers also cut staff to maximize profit and with it their bonus. It’s always and forever just about money for management! Full stop!

 

2018-03-01 food in customer bins

Link from 2016

 

2016-01-19 food waste text

Link

 

2019-01-25 Liverpool Food Waste

Link

 

 

The next Tweet is a terrible example of how staff stop caring and even sabotaging innocent people in need. I have not witnessed this in any of my shops that teams poured bleach on food to make it uneatable, but I have heard countless stories of how staff sabotage the business because the managers did not care for their teams. I heard from a former manager that when he was Team Member, he saw at times how teams threw whole new packs of cakes and other food items in the bins during the morning delivery checks, to sabotage the managers bonuses: high waste (unaccounted items) = less bonus.

I personally have witnessed staff throwing Pret brochures away, that give employees steps and values to follow. But because many managers are the worst examples in portraying any values, and teams realize that if the top leadership does not care, it trickles down to lower management. Managers pressured with targets, overwhelmed, not well trained, and the worst being complacent; teams become disheartened and at times throw these booklets away with an angry smirk and whatever else they do in anger or to sabotage managers’ bonuses.

But to destroy food by pouring bleach on it is quite horrendous! But it should give the public some insight in how frustrated staff are. I keep linking to a selection of the Staff Complaints I collected to highlight this, as well as my own trauma with Pret.

 

2019-01-19 bags of food text

Link

 

Retweeted from same feed:

 

2019-01-19 bags of food text rt

 

 

 

I keep saying all the time that if something looks to good to be true (from the outside) who will take a closer look? I write from inside knowledge… but most people don’t want to know how it really is. It’s far easier to be lulled in with brilliant marketing and a smiley facade, added with fast Tweets and customer service. Amy Sharpe’s undercover report was a good start, but she worked only in the evening closing shift. It would be great for someone to work undercover in Pret for at 1 month in the kitchen from 5am on. That is where the Pret blow is felt.

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote a recent article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

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Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

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Pret A Manger Reviews (UPDATE 02. Feb. 2019)

 

pret reviews sign

 

 

NOTE upfront, in some of the Tweet screenshots I post below one can see that in some I have responded, but when you click to see the Tweet, my Tweet is gone. It is still there when I am logged IN, but while logged out no one can see it. It’s Twitters shadowbanning again on Pret’s behalf. My Main Twitter is @LateNightGirlMe which gets regularly shadowbanned. But traffic is flowing, so I’m not concerned.

 

As I wrote before that some reviews look fake and as insiders know that big companies use PR companies, as well as ask loyal employees to leave positive feedback mixed with a little bit of bearable negative. The latest series of feedback look a little fishy, dear Pret. Make an effort! I write this also because colleagues have lied in grievance investigation hearings in favour of my bullying superiors. The Development Manager who was tasked to sanction me has lied about not having had private contact with me. HR on several occasions have not been correct, having used questionable resources to get rid of me etc. etc.

One specific review was written days ago on the 1 minute demand for staff to serve customers and coffees.

Example:

Customers flock to Twitter with photos of half empty cappuccinos, wrong teas, luke-warm drinks. One of my several Tweet responses to this rip-off was on 11. Jan. 2019. I point out regarding the pressure teams have via the Mystery Shopper, to serve customers within 1 minute, to hand over the hot drinks within 1 minute etc. or the whole team loses bonus. This seemed to have been “answered” in a new review on 14. Jan. 2019

Mystery Shopper here counted to the second how fast the coffee came out and YET, only giving 4 out of 5 points which frustrates the managers and OPs managers as the points count towards managers bonuses. The Mystery Shopper is the largest chunk of managers bonuses, that’s why the pressure is the highest and teams are extra kissing customer butts for 1. the Mystery Shopper, and 2. fear of the angry manager when points and/or bonus are lost. A colleague once received a “file note” (first step towards a disciplinary) because we lost bonus where he didn’t smile. So, he lost bonus, got peer pressure as the whole team lost bonus and on top of that got a triple penalty by being given a file note for added pressure and fear management.

Mystery Shopper snippet:

Speed in Seconds

As the picture is too small for the print I quote what the MS here commented:

Pret: We aim to serve our customers within 1 minute of joining the queue. Where you served in a reasonable time, bearing in mind how busy the shop was and the number of open tills?
MS: “I was served quickly, after 15 seconds, very quick service.”

Pret: We aim to serve out customers their hot drink within 1 minute of payment. Did you receive your hot drink order within a reasonable time? (Pret demands 1 minute and then turns it into a “reasonable” time) 
MS: “I received my hot drink very quick, after 30 seconds, quick service.” (yet, still gives 4 out of 5 points. Maybe 5 seconds would be better for a perfect coffee, dear MS?)

 

So, the quick service means quick customer and money flow.

 

Mystery Shopper poor comments

Pret: We aim to connect with every customer with eye contact, a smile and some polite remarks. Rate the engagement level of the person who served you at the till.
MS: I was not greeted at the till or given a smile. The only conversation was what was necessary for the transaction. To be welcoming, the team member could have greeted me and smiled and be engaged and positive, the team member could have given me a friendly remark or made small talk.

So, after comments like this the team member is summoned into the office and receive a sermon from the manager. The most ridiculous telling off we combined as a team have ever received from our boss, was after we lost bonus because the MS commented that the shop felt “miserable”. It was a very straining shop, very busy, harsh boss who never smiled or even said good morning. All this reflected on the team. The manager summoned most of us during the quiet period into the kitchen and said: “Your smile is part of your uniform! You are expected to wear a smile like you wear your uniform…”

Some more bla bla and then he said to us with most of us having our eyes to the ground like little rebuked puppies, he said something like, “if anyone has anything to say to that (losing the bonus = not smiling) speak now, you can’t come later, as I won’t speak about this later…” etc. I said to him something like, “are you sure, because I would want to say something to you, but not openly here (as he was my boss, didn’t want to embarrass him)”.

He insisted and said, “No, speak now, later is no opportunity.” I then said, “But So-and-so, you never smile when you serve customers.” … He quickly said to let his boss tell him that, and I apologized having to hold back a chuckle! But since then he made an effort and at times even smiled!

 

One of my several Tweets regarding 1 minute expectation, 11. January:

2019-01-11 my ms 1 min

 

 

New review on 14. Jan. 2019 (It’s all so much fun!)

 

2019-01-14 barista looks fake

Link

 

This review tries to clear up something and explains that staff have 1 minute to serve ONE customer, but this is not true. Yes, 1 minute per customer on paper. But when you have between 3 to 5 Team Members working behind the counter in the morning coffee rush, including the barista and a coffee maker, with a customer queue to the door of about 20 – 30 customers lining up it is completely bonkers.

Most stores have a minimum of 7 – 10 tills, but in the coffee rush 3 manning the tills, 1 hot chef getting the croissants out and 1 – 2 on the coffee. The Mystery Shopper timing the staff, PLUS the manager pressuring the team to work faster… it’s one big load of bull-crap this review! If customer number 20 is the Mystery Shopper, they will wait over a minute from the time they join the queue. Boom! Bonus lost! If they are served within a minute and then receive their coffee within a minute, the coffee is often poor quality, half empty, not hot or too hot etc.

But customers expect their drinks fast and perfect. In what dreamland do people live in, they even SEE how crazy and chaotic it is. Once when we came out of an intensly busy coffee rush and it became quiet, I served a customer and just blew air like you do when you take a deep breath and just sigh for exhaustion. In no time the customer asked for the manager and complained, not even being bothered how I was, not realizing that we just came out of a mental coffee rush with only 3 of us while the manager sat in the office.

And if you are a regular customer in the morning, count the amount of tills and how many staff are behind the counter. The kitchen staff who are pressured for time to get products made are often called to  help on the tills, and than they get in trouble for being late on their products! It’s a never-ending stressful “battlefield”. Managers like to cut staff to increase profit and their bonus and a big slap on the back by the CEO in their quarterly meetings. All on the backs of hardworking Teams.

One recent comment on YouTube of the many I collected in the Staff Complaints:
(Click Ctrl & + to enlarge)

2019-02-01 #66 YouTube under free cookie video

Link

 

And with this endless rushing and pressure customers then flock to Twitter with photos of appalling quality of drinks. I only post a few, but every day one can see them on Twitter.

 

2018-12-21 flat white coffee issues

Link

 

2018-12-19 half cup coffee

 

 

This Tweet was already on 14. Dec. 2018 when I mentioned the 1 minute pressure. And Pret’s typical “oh no” response they do in almost every Tweet:

 

2018-12-14 coffee issues less small

Link

 

 

UPDATE 21.01. & 02.02.2019

2019-01-21 low coffee stingy

Link

 

 

2019-02-01 Coffee flat white worst ever

Link

 

 

2019-02-01 Half full coffee tea

Link

 

And these are only the few I post here as my blog entry gets too long again!!! But everyday customers tweet to Pret with photos of appalling drinks, for which they paid too much already.

 

Undercover reporter Amy Sharpe contacted me for an interview after having read my blog. I wrote my comments of her report in “Undercover Under Pressure in Pret“.

2018-11-25 Amy Sharpe Undercover in Pret

 

Let’s have a look again to some real barista reviews, who are swamped working in cramped areas, which Amy Sharpe also pointed out in her article, quote:

»One barista tells me the cramped service area is a “nightmare”. He says: “If I’m next to you, you have to shout. If you don’t shout I can make a mistake. A person can grab the wrong coffee. Make mistakes and the customer gets mad. You’ve got to focus, stay calm.”«

 

2019-01-16 small coffee area

Link

Unfortunately the photo doesn’t show the tiny work counter in front of the coffee machines. But if one looks to the bottom right photo where the silver counter edge is and follow a line along the photo, one gets the picture how small the work stations are. I had to retrain teams shop after shop how to best organize the space to not be cluttered and then frustrated in the busy work period.

 

This photo is a better view. There is even a sink directly in front of the left coffee machine taking vital workspace away! And these cramped work stations are everywhere I have worked in and staff are always complaining about the lack of space to work, balancing every move they make while being forced to show a happiness and pressured via Mystery Shopper comments. All staff then do is switch to autopilot.

 

small barista coffee area

Link

 

Even many kitchens are a nightmare in cramped working areas, not to mention the staff rooms. Customer space is maximized to maximize profit, staff area is minimized and a nightmare to work in.

 

2018-11-11 Tiny HFC area

This looks like a shelf next to a sink, with the storage of drinks next to it as many Prets don’t even have a stock room and items are stored under and on top of work benches, on shelves, even the tiny staff rooms are often used to store non-food items and boxes, taking away from the already small areas forcing staff to have their break in the loud shop, never really resting.

 

The following picture of a rubbish cart is from the worst shop I’ve worked, not only because the bullying was the heaviest there, but because there was NO space. There was only ONE toilet for customers AND staff alike. I had to go to the Costa next door at times as I didn’t have time to queue for the toilet! The back-room was an All-in-one room: Office, staff/changing room with lockers, Fridges and Freezers, Store room, the Hot Chef area where the soups were prepared, the Chemical room with all the cleaning materials etc., the Electrical Room and to top it all, the RUBBISH room.

Many times the rubbish was left over night after the collection already came. This photo is from September 2015 and Pret was then forced to expand the working area, decreasing the customer area as the rubbish was a health & safety issue. But this shop existed for at least 2-3 years with the rubbish included in the multi-task room.

Staff would even change their uniform in there next to the Hot Chef preparing food! It was a complete nightmare. And even when we complained about the lack of space and rubbish, Pret would not listen and only changed when prompted by health & safety people.

 

Spitalfields Waste MultitaskOffice_6Sep15

 

 

And rarely do customers point out the stress, chaos and upset they observe. Most just want their coffees and off they go:

2018-10-20 Staff cry

Link

 

2019-01-12 pret mess st albans

Link

 

2019-01-15 dirty tables

Link

 

Also on the 15. Jan. 2019, different shop:

2019-01-15 dirty table again

Link

 

And this is exactly what Amy Sharpe pointed out in her undercover report and I have experienced too many times: Understaffed to maximize profit, yet expected to do everything within the given time and not being paid overtime. So, teams stop caring and don’t clean anymore. In the U.S. 4000 Pret workers have successfully taken Pret to court for not paying overtime. UK staff need to do this as well.

Amy Sharpe’s findings that I can wholly underline from my experience, quote: “When the bustle dies down I clean the shop but a colleague urges me to skip certain tasks. “You’re supposed to sweep and mop every day but don’t do that or you’ll never leave on time,” he says.”

 

 

Some genuine barista reviews:

“Dear Lord, protect me from ever need to work for Pret a Manger ever again. Amen.
For this company you are numbers, robots, machines, you are no humans.”


Hard work all the time and high pressure”


“management is disrespectful, they fire people when they are having rough times in life even if they talk to a manager about it , i was penalized for calling out for a funeral.”


“I used to work for Pret as a main barista for about 2 years in London. It was a total nightmare apart from some nice customers and coworkers. Their system is utterly mess and they always force employees to work extra.” YouTube comment


“Act a little more like management and a little less like the employees. I worked in 4 different shops and the song and dance was the same in each one.”


Nothing but aggravation and a discriminating HR. fire the HR staff you have now and replace them with more educating indiviuals and ones that dont discriminate”


“Cons – Too many. Lack of defined management, finger-pointing, politics and poor organisation.”


had me working as a barista for two years would not give me training so they do not have to pay me correctly(Yes, this also happens to other roles especially to the Hot Chef)


Managers are very bossy and unprofessional, a bit of exploiting”


People are two faced in order to get promotion”


 

There is certainly an extra blog entry on the laziness of managers, in this case even the danger where the GM doesn’t change labels/signs after complaints:
“*managers dont care about standards (manager was too lazy to change the meatball and the falafel sign even though there were many complaints)
*manager told me how easy HIS “job” was (he’s mostly in his office so he gets paid to sit and do nothing because he has his leaders do majority of his work)


Poor management, really short breaks, work longer hours”


etc. etc. etc.

 

Also, I pointed out sarcastically on Twitter that the percentage of recommendations are below the 50% mark having dropped:

49 percent recommended glassdoor

 

 

And now today it’s risen, but still barely half the workforce (don’t) recommend to a friend. And the steady 70% didn’t even rise with the £1000 announcement.

2019-01-19 percentage changed

So, they’re working quite hard to raise the percentage. And I’m sure after reading this blog entry the (fake) reviews continue. 😀

Here are some that don’t look real. I won’t point out on every review why they seem fake as Pret keeps learning from me. But with some I explain why, to really show why these look fake. Whoever may have been tasked to write these reviews, just cares for the % to rise and filling the top lines, bumping up the positive reviews so people stop scrolling down eventually to the terrible reviews:

 

10. Jan. 2019 “Waiter” (sounds like from the U.S.)
“I worked at Pret A Manger part-time
Pros: Very nice Team, Good salary.
Cons: Noise environment, can be very busy”

07. Jan. 2019 Tim Member Star”
(For having worked 8 YEARS in an airport which are the most stressful shops, calling the team “Tim” sounds like a fake reviewer pret-ending to be a foreigner! Or this is the proof that there is NO training, as Team Members across the board have to sign training records every 6 months, read information etc. The word “Team” is plastered all over the place in shops, not to mention their job role as a TEAM member star! While the rest of the review is mostly in accurate spelling. They can even spell complex words like: “specific”, “customers”, “interact”, and even “treat”, but 3x not Team??! Good try, try harder!)
“…the Tim is friendly… more than family Tim… For managers I don’t have specific advice, everyone has to treat the customers like that, that they want to be tried when we are like customers, more focus, attention, smail, chat and, with not interact and pushing, more regular training and short meting in a family-friendly way”


 

UPDATE 02.02.2019

As Pret reads my blog (I won’t say how I know, but I know) another review from 30.01.2019 has been added, again with correct spelling, except the last words. I know how corrupt the top HR leadership is, where they did certain things they knew at the time would hurt me, in total discrimination. But I also know that people always will have to face what they did to others. This new fake looking review looks very strongly like a response to my above quote on “Tim” vs Team:

Quote: “Can be phisically tiring sometimes” Link

Yet, on the SAME day another review from a barista which is 100% reality in Pret!

“Busy and stressful environment whit no support from management
Forget about contracted hours! You will be doing overtime most of the time, as there is a lack of staff nearly in every Pret” Link

 


 

Here several reviews days in succession and I won’t say what looks fake here, just read:

The following two reviews two days in a row look identical, also often pointing out parties as Pret is always looking for young people luring them in as they are paid less and are easier to mold without knowing their rights:

16. Dec. 2018 Team Member (the only con is “depends on the shop”)
Pros: Weekly pay, good co-workers and food. Nice Pret Parties
Cons: Depends on the shop you’re assigned


15. Dec. 2018 Team member at Pret  (“at this particular branch” – clever! Very fake looking review.)
Pros: Weekly pay, flexible hours, great co-workers from all walks of life
Cons: The GM at this particular branch was impossible to work with


09. Dec. 2018 Team Member (“can feel like” very softly put for staff that can never plan their weeks because the rotas are rarely published in advance)
Cons: rotas need to be out more consistently and in advance can feel like you can’t plan ahead unless you have set hours
Advice to Management: Keep doing what you’re doing


 

05. Dec. 2018 Front of House Leader (Cons: A “little bit” of pressure… need to get up early “sometimes” – good one! This is a very clever review: it says that there is a “little bit” of pressure and they have to get up early “sometimes”. The reader reads this, applies for a job in Pret and works in a REGULAR Pret shop where EVERY Pret shop is ALWAYS busy, understaffed, start at 5am and earlier, unless they are on late shift. And the new team member then thinks they just happened to land in “a” busy shop not knowing that ALL shops are like this! And this supposedly is a team LEADER reviewing! You cheeky bugger reviewer, you! 😀 How much are these reviewers paid to fool people like this?! )
Pros: Great company to work for, paying well, you are getting the stuff food as well. Great staff parties.
Cons: A little bit of pressure if you are working in the busy shop, also you need to get up early sometimes.


28. Nov. 2018 Amazing Job (There is the “depends on which shop” again)
Pros: Flexible – very good employee training
Cons: Depends on which shop you get.

(This “very good employee training is a direct comment on my writings regarding no to poor training of staff.)


 

On Indeed. You, the reader tell me what looks dodgy in these reviews, mostly within days in succession. It isn’t hard to spot:

hard working.team work.nice staff.good comunication.using the till.customers service.the hardes part of work is starting very early shift at 4.00am.i like work on weekend.


Fun work place, great teamwork and ethos.
Loved working here, great experience and lots of new skills learned. Would definitely recommend working for pret and I would happily work fro them again.


Fast and fun work place
Great organizational culture, awesome training system. Everything is so standardized, structured and convenient. Great salary. Everyone is respectful and friendly. I loved working at Pret!


Fun and easy
Pret a manger is a good company to work for but if you want improve your skills in other areas than retail you might have some problems with it.
Overall in my opinion it’s a great company for a first job
It teach you good customer service and organisation skills.


great people, great customer hard work ethic (Here the reviewer, supposedly a GM, is even having a laugh as the only Con “its addictive”. Also, for a manager to be writing all in small, no caps used. They’ll work on that one now.)
amazing company, great people. loved every minute with Pret. made amazing friends and had great training and support, i have learnt alot from this company,a dn am sad to be wanting to leave.


TWO DAYS before: its ok
it is an ok job to start with, i believe the best of the same kind you can see around, the best part is the free food, sometimes is a lot of work but bearable


 

etc.

Pret can counter that the negative reviews may be fake. No sir, the negative reviews are written with such passion and detail. I even met some of them on various platforms who wrote to me and I linked them to their own reviews when I recognized their experience from the reviews I collected.

And now the ones again that I can absolutely underline from my 10 years in Pret A Manger. The last 3 years extremely fogged up and traumatized. I was lied to by top leadership, gaslighted via HR with a Development Manager who was used to sanction me, instead of supporting each other in our common grief. I write extensively about this perversion of Pret in “The Perversion of a Toxic HR Department” under the leadership and knowledge of CEO Clive Schlee.

Pret’s “Rising Star” program is PR as regular staff are pushed and stressed, once they become bereaved they become an inconvenience. I write extensively about this on this blog. The best way to get to the most important blog entries to get a quick overview is via the “Mind Map” I created: “My Ordeal With Pret A Manger“. From there it links back to this website to the most important articles.

All these reviews I have experienced in all my 10 years, in over a dozen shops, in every shop:

 

2018-05-09 pamsu endthemysteryshopper

Link

 

2018-09-13 #59 Staff Tweet2

Link

 

2018-10-15 No pay for 4 weeks1

Link

 

2018-07-12 Quote Pret #17

Link

 

2018-11-01 Go back to UK

Link

 

2018-07-23 Quote #27 Pret Hellhole

Link

 

YT_JamesHoffmann_Reply2

This person’s name is changed to Banzinotito Scrolling down in this YouTube video

 

… and many, many more in collected reviews from Employment review sites, YouTube, Twitter and other sites: Selected Quotes from the long list of Pret Staff Complaints.

 

Pret can try and counter those all day long, the truth will be told again and again. And Amy Sharpe from the Sunday Mirror having gone undercover into Pret, I hope more journalists will go into Pret as several have also gone into Amazon. But the press needs to go into the kitchen, work for a month in the morning kitchen production! That’s when the Pret blow will be felt hard! It will be harder though now, as Pret will scrutinize their job application closer, but people behind the scenes suffer and hold under this because they have kids to feed and are lulled in with incentives. But mental health is suffering. I survived to tell my and others experience.

 

pret reviews sign

 

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Class Action vs Pret for DECEPTIVE Packaging (Updated Aug. 2019)

 

… And the Warped Reason for a Lack of Wrap!

 


 

UPDATE:

Pret A Manger DELETED their Tweet to Natalie Raybold about the new (bogus) reason for the “air” hidden behind the cardboard, after Pret read this blog entry! I explain further below.

@Pret, thanks for stopping by again, unfortunately your visit led to your deletion of a Tweet. Getting caught doing the “right” thing again!

 

UPDATE: Class Action suit vs Pret settled

As the case is settled now, the “wrapped too tightly” version started again… and the generic “oh no” responses from Pret continue with the usual “Please send us a DM with which shop you visited” as if this was an isolated incidence. To any reader, go unto Pret’s “Tweet and Replies” page and see their cut & paste responses, even though lately there seems to be new Twitter staff on the shifts, their wording is changing finally!

 


 

A longer list with mainly photos and less text just as a VISUAL to understand how common this is >>> Pret A Manger’s Misleading Packaging.

I didn’t want to put this “wrap collection” into a blog post, but Twitter and Facebook keep hiding, deleting etc. my posts, FB even deletes my PRIVATE messages when I have a link to my blog in the message! So I enter the below list into one post, hence only one link to post and a list of customer complaints.

In the U.S. people easily sue companies, in the UK they just go to Twitter, rant a little and that was that. Even customers dying, getting hospitalized from unlabelled allergen in products, no law suit! In the U.S. it would hail a storm of law suits upon Pret with lawyers drooling for cases like this! But in the UK they fall asleep being cooked like frogs while getting bribed with cheap free coffees! Unbelievable!

After my repeated comments on Pret’s funny reason for the cardboard to hide “air” behind it and letting customers pay overpriced half products, Pret keeps sweet-talking customers into sleep, “Oh no, this looks like it has been wrapped too tightly”.

 

But let’s rewind to 2016 where the version was, starting as usual with “Oh no…” to pret-end that the Pret-Tweeter is surprised. The rather TRUE response here is: “this isn’t right…”

Exactly! This is NOT right! Thanks for the honesty here, Pret. Unfortunately nothing was changed in the packaging to be decreased, or an increased size of wrap to fill the packaging for an honest product. And communication down the line, of which version would be best to give on Twitter complaints, got messed up over time.

 

2016-06-25 wrap air now doesnt look right

Link

 

In 2018 it “doesn’t look right at all”…

 

2018-02-23 wrap doesnt look right at all

Link

 

And this one from the U.S. in October 2018 is a give away that this indeed is not an honest packaging for the later “version” of a 13. Jan. 2019 explanation by Pret. Stephanie feels “very tricked” and Pret EVEN agrees by saying:

 

2018-10-29 usa wrap pret understands

 

Full Tweet feed:

 

2018-10-29 usa wrap full tweet feed

Link Oct. 2018

 

 

Fast forward a little … the version is that this is “wrapped too tightly”. This loosely wrapped product Pret says looks too tightly wrapped. LOL! The consistent “Oh no”… “Oh dear”… Oh gosh”… from the UK Twitter side remains, to give the impression that this is an EXCEPTION while Pret is being sued in the States for deception.

 

 

2018-12-07 wrap

Link to Dec 2018 Tweet

 

 

2018-10-24 wrapped too tightly

Link to Oct. 2018 Tweet

 

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, here is a brand new version of a warped wrap packaging! 

After repeated comments on this ridiculous “reason” for Pret having spread that version too broadly, the version now is even more ridiculous, I added the bold highlight. New reason completely holding customers for idiots!

Quote: “Our packaging is designed to leave a space in the middle so the wrap can be displayed clearly at both ends and doesn’t get squashed. We’re sorry if you feel mislead on the size, Natalie but we can assure you that you’ve received both halves of the same wrap.”

How absolutely amazing Pret now openly fools customers! The Wrap WON’T get squashed as the cardboard center is sturdy and protects any product from being squashed. This should be a UK law suit (the bot that bookmarks my blog in the States on behalf of Pret can send this one to them! Be my guest!)

The issue is NOT the size of the wrap, but the misleading size of the packaging. It’s an old trick businesses do knowing that customers buy via sight, not probing on the weight and measure, even if a package would state that. But as everyone knows, Pret packaging has hardly ANY useful information on it, as at least the first of the two customers who died had to pay with her life, and only when the public became aware of their deaths does Pret SLOWLY change labelling. Let alone have a weight and measurement of the product on the packaging. Pret’s packaging just has bla bla sweet-talk of whatever, but NO useful information on ingredients, weight etc. except in stores where ingredient/allergen labelling is TRIALED as I write this.

So with Pret products that are assembled in the shops each day, customers rely SOLELY on their eye-sight, and as they don’t have time during their lunch break to weigh out the product with their bare hands if it is too light, or the usual weight, they go by eye-sight. They cannot purchase according to weight or how much of a certain ingredient is “behind” the packaging. Companies use this to their advantage and what I find, mislead customers to “assume” the package is completely filled inside.

The most common is items like Washing Powder. Yes, it does state the amount in KG, but what customer carries a scale or knows how to size up the packaging. So, the washing powder packaging is often very large, but upon opening at home a quarter is just air, because businesses know customers buy according to eye sight, not information and weighing the product.

And Pret’s wraps get the most complaints because it has the middle section to hide air, whereas the sandwich and salad packaging has more “window” to show the majority of the item, and less possibility to hide air.

 

2019-01-13 another wrap misleading package3

Link to today’s Tweet A spanking new version of why there is a gap.

I cannot believe my eyes reading this! From “Oh no, this isn’t right…” to this hilarious open fairy tale, holding customers for complete idiots! And customers swallow the fast, efficiency of Pret’s Twitter feed and go back to sleep while they remain happy to pay for hidden air.

 

PRET’S DELETED TWEET:

 

The above link used to lead to this tweet from Pret:

 

2019-01-13 another wrap misleading package3

 

But NOW it leads to this deleted page

 

2019-01-27 pret deleted tweet re packaging

 

 

The whole feed again before Pret deleted their Tweet:

 

2019-01-13 another wrap misleading package before delete

 

Natalie Raybold’s Tweet here has no Tweet above anymore, as it is deleted.

Even the whole feed of her Tweet has disappeared and some are only visible because I have the remaining Tweets in my Replies as I responded. Pret changed quickly after Natalie kept protesting as well as my post on the bogus reason: “It does appear to be a rather small wrap, Natalie…” Link

 

Initial Tweet standing on its own, no other Tweets are found. This looks like part of shadow banning.

Direct link of part in the feed from my own Tweets & Replies as I tweeted within this feed. Natalie Raybold here responds to the new reason and finds this misleading. But from her initial Tweet, this cannot be traced anymore. If I wouldn’t still have my Tweets, only her initial post would be visible.

Twitter and Pret are in this together on behalf of protecting profit driven companies! Katschink!

 

Thus, it should be clear again how dodgy this is and how Pret tries to hide this, as this may get people’s attention for another lawsuit.

 


 

These, the list below and others I didn’t include here, are only those that people bother posting on Twitter. Not every customer produces a photo publicly as they don’t have time and may think this is a one-off, not realizing how much this happens.

 

Links to Class Action Suit and customers’ complaints on Twitter. Links open in new window:

 

Class Action NY

Court Document (starts to get interesting from page 18 on)

Press Article on Suit

Press Article on Deceptive Packaging

 

2014 and 2018

2014 2018 Air Wrap

 

Customers Tweets on mostly cold Salad Wraps and a few Hot Wraps:

August 2012

27. Dec. 2012

17. Nov. 2013

10. Mar. 2014

25. March 2014

16. Apr. 2014

09. June 2014

21. June 2014

14. Apr. 2015

15. Apr. 2015

23. Apr. 2015

27. May 2015

13. Aug. 2015

25. June 2016

27. June 2016 USA

17. Aug. 2016

25. Aug. 2016

07. Sep. 2016 USA

12. Oct. 2016 USA

15. Feb. 2017

March 2017

19. Apr. 2017

05. May 2017 Little Ingredient (lots of complaints on Twitter on this)

17. May 2017 Pret A Rip-Off

July 2017

01. Aug. 2017 USA

02. Aug. 2017

07. Aug. 2017

A little humour in-between!

Also 07. Aug. 2017 Another really bad one!

21. Aug. 2017 USA

10. Oct. 2017 TWO for the price of ONE!

17. Jan. 2018 (no response from Pret)

06. Feb. 2018

23. Feb. 2018

20. Apr. 2018 It took Pret 3 days to respond!

26. Apr. 2018

22. May 2018 Pret admits the wrap is a “little stingy”

17. Aug. 2018

06. Oct. 2018 (no response from Pret)

10. Oct. 2018 USA

16. Oct. 2018 Hot Wrap

24. Oct. 2018

29. Oct. 2018 USA

06. Nov. 2018 Hot Wrap

12. Nov. 2018 Little Duck more Spinach, badly wrapped

13. Nov. 2018 Hot Wrap

14. Nov. 2018

17. November 2018 This is the worst so far!

07. Dec. 2018

12. Jan. 2018 Little Duck (expensive), lots of Greens (cheap)

13. Jan. 2019 Pret’s NEW reason for packaging “deception”

Ok, didn’t expect the next day to have to continue on this…

14. Jan. 2019 I should get paid for giving Pret so many tipps, now Pret does NOT give any reason anymore but write instead: “We’re sorry to hear that, Sam. Please could you send us a DM with some more info including the shop you visited?”

There isn’t even a “oh no… oh gosh” response anymore, well done Pret! Them spies and boss are reading my blog. Well, thank you! Keep it up and be on your toes! 😀

 

14. Jan. 2019 Flatbread living up to its name: FLAT

25.01.2019 No Hoison in expensive Hoison Duck Wrap

25.01.2019 Spicy Chicken Flop

25.01.2019 Bang Bang Chicken Flop

12.02.2019 Big in Japan!

23.02.2019 Pret A Gap Wrap

26.02.2019 Pret A Light Wrap

12.04.2019 No Photo, but an observation

24.04.2019 Feeling deceived

27.04.2019 Mind the BIGGEST Gap!

01.05.2019 Another BIG gap!

06.05.2019 … and another one…

09.05.2019 Customer quote: “Where’s the rest of my wrap?! Believe me it’s not a one time thing …”

06.06.2019 … another one…

24. June 2019

01. July 2019

03. July 2019

10. July 2019

24. July 2019

26. July 2019

29. July 2019

06. August 2019

07. Aug. 2019

Also 07. Aug. 2019

09. Aug. 2019

21. Aug. 2019

27. Aug. 2019 USA

 

All the above dates/links are features in pictures as a visual >>> Pret A Manger’s Misleading Packaging.

 

And with the one from 06.05 someone cared enough to confront Pret:

2019-05-06 Customer referring to my blog air wrap3

 

In context:

2019-05-06 Customer referring to my blog air wrap2

Link

 

 

2019-01-25 bang chicken wrap no chicken

 

On 28. May 2019 a customer posted a video and I will include the whole feed as the exchange is brilliant. This customer won’t let Pret BS him or get lured into DM:

2019-05-28 Air Wrap Video1

Link

2019-05-28 Air Wrap Video1a

 

2019-05-28 Air Wrap Video1c

 

Pret being desperate to get the customer away from the public into DM.

Little side note, where it says “1 more reply” is my reply LOL! Twitter hides it, even though I’m not shadow banned (yet!) they do hide posts for companies or political issues. They hide it so it can’t be seen immediately  as people are busy often, they don’t realise there are more replies and don’t always see the “1 more reply” thing.

Here’s my reply when one clicks on it, tucked away in-between two tweets:

Peek-a-boo… PreT-A-Boo…

Direct link to the first of my tweets as I feel a shadow ban coming! 😀

 

One solution would be for staff just “spread” the wrap to fill the package!

2018-11-12 spread out long wrap air

12. Nov. 2018

 

To be continued unfortunately …

 


 

It’s certainly a good give-away that Pret knows what they are doing and the versions they keep giving when they don’t even respond to the Tweets addressed to them directly in this feed HERE further down the Tweets.

And I can’t help but think that Pret now changed the version because of this law suit. Time will tell. I cannot find any more info on this suit.

A TripAdvisor Review on Pret and the oldest trick in the book on shrinking products but charging same or higher price. I have seen this many times over the years when I worked in Pret. The brownie for example disappeared for a while, we were instructed to tell customers that the product is being “improved” and when the brownie returned, it was smaller.

And currently customers on Twitter keep lamenting that the Vegan cookie is not on sale anymore and Pret again says that the recipe is being improved. And yet customer after customer says that it was perfect, doesn’t need improvement, even today again:

 

2019-01-13 vegan cookie improving

Link

 

Someone recently mentioned a rumour that the Vegan cookie wasn’t even Vegan in the first place, hence Pret did what they do best, they “deleted the cookie”. Vegans point this out a lot that many products advertised as Vegan have eggs in it, not to mention Celia Marsh’s death as she was allergic to dairy. This second death in Pret from a non-dairy  product that contained Dairy Protein is still under investigation who is responsible, Pret or Coyo that supplied the non-dairy yogurt.

 

vegan-not-vegan-rumour.jpg

Link

 

And to finish on a positive, just today when I cooked something, I was pleasantly surprised when I opened a brand new Colman’s mustard powder package and upon opening had to catch powder falling out as the jar was so full it ran over. The photo is already after I used some of it, but it’s still filled to the top. This is rare these days, and maybe it was an “accidental” overfill, as I haven’t bought this product for a long time and can’t remember how it used to be before.

But maybe there’s another blog entry on deceiving vs honest packaging one of these days and companies need to be called out for it, the good and the bad guys. But on a positive note, the good stuff needs to be mentioned as well.

 

img_20190113_195848

 


 

I worked at Pret A Manger for almost 10 years and survived systemic workplace bullying during bereavement that involved HR, the top leadership, HQ and even the CEO Clive Schlee. For an overview of important blog entries of my experience with Pret, please visit “My Ordeal with Pret A Manger”. The little arrow to the right next to each heading will lead directly to the post.
I also tell my story for the first time verbally in this >>>
podcast interview based in California, and wrote a recent article in the Scottish Left Review.
Thank you for reading/listening.

Interview:

 

©2019 expret.org

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission is prohibited.

©2017 – Present: expret.org, poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

Whatever you do, How little you know

 

If your friend, family member, colleague, employee, acquaintance… loses someone, don’t leave them alone. You will not know what to do, and that is ok. Just don’t leave them alone, or even worse tell them it’s their fault they are so down. They are lost and don’t know what to do. They feel already the guilt of loss and being a burden.

And stay away from Pret A Manger and any company that hurt people, using them for PR while bullying those who go through tragedy. Don’t believe their facade and psychology. They can afford companies who manipulate with wordings to “hypnotize” the public for profit. And the public wants to believe the facade. I know Pret since 10 years and gave them the benefit of the doubt too much (that only is my fault). Pret does not care for people, except themselves and whoever is in their elite group who play their games. As long as you play their game, you are in their group.

Most people don’t play games and are just used, and exploited, and lied to. Pret A Manger is a very dishonest company. Support the small independent businesses, even if you have to walk, drive extra to get to them. We all enable those careless companies because we are not willing to change our habits.

They even did nothing after customers died and multiple warnings to label their products properly until it became public. If that doesn’t tell people how Pret really is, than I don’t know.

The blogger community is the best social media among all social media platforms; solid, thoughtful, creative.

I’ve given it all, I told my story, if people care to know or not is not my concern. Pret doesn’t even respond on Twitter to my open confrontation. All they do is get Twitter to “shadow ban” me. Pathetic! I passed on the written evidence to people. I’ve given it my best. Stand up for yourself and those who can’t. Look closer, if a profit-driven company looks too good to be true, look behind the facade. Businesses can afford to employ companies to write fake reviews, look at the little people who stand up against a giant. Join a Union and stand up for yourself. I was too naive and traumatized and gave Pret the benefit of the doubt too much.

But I have written it all down.

Thank you for reading. Happy 2019.

 

 

pexels-photo-212324

 

 

©2019 poetrasblok.com

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.

 

London Eye 19 Years Ago

 

in the summer of 2000 when the London Eye was brand new on the South Bank, I went with a friend to take a ride. I can’t believe it’s that long ago! I was days away from moving to the States, met with friends, strolled through London, did my last errands in preparation. My brother visited me a few weeks before, although the London Eye wasn’t on my “map” at the time and I showed him around London to the typical “old” London sites. The only high-rise building then was the NatWest Tower in the city and the highest was the Canary Wharf Tower in the Docklands in East London where I first lived when I came to London. (London’s Skyline throughout the years.)

 

2000-7-27 London Eye8

July 2000

 

When I went with my friend to take a ride, the price was £8 which of course now is over £20, close to £30 I guess. But when I purchased the ticket, a former colleague of mine was sitting in the ticket booth and gave us a complimentary ride! So, my first and last ride was for free. I must say that at that time I was not too impressed with the view, but I think now since a few years the view has immensely changed due to the new high rise buildings in London.

I never imagined that the London Eye would become the focal point of the New Year’s Eve fireworks display. The first time I saw it live on Lambeth Bridge was after I returned from the States in 2006. I’d see the fireworks by the river since then every year until 2014 with one exception in 2011 or 2012. I saw it from different views, often on Lambeth Bridge with friends, one time even from directly opposite the Wheel on the other side of the river, other times from behind the wheel. But I would not recommend to be that close directly opposite as most I saw was just smoke and overwhelming bright flashing of white light. I would have needed sun glasses to see properly and not get blinded and smoked in. Things really do look much prettier from afar sometimes! That said, it still was an amazing experience, if not just for the atmosphere with friends and strangers alike.

 

London Eye Fireworks

London Eye where are you?

 

Since January 2015 with all that happened and all the trauma and nightmare, I never saw the fireworks live up close again, partly also because over the years it has become too crowded, and since a few years they charge tickets to control the crowds as well as getting funds in as they blow millions of tax-payers money into the air. I used to be ambivalent about the fireworks and the money that could be used for other projects. But in a rare occasion I since take the same approach as most people, that life is short, let’s just enjoy something as gigantic as this display of colour, sound and energy, uniting friends and strangers for a few hours and minutes.

I have found that the best view is from a screen or my balcony where I can see a good portion of the Eye and fireworks. In 2006, 2007 etc. it was still very easy to leave with friends from a party close by Lambeth Bridge 20 or even 15 minutes before midnight and still get a good spot on the bridge without being squeezed. And it was free to watch up close without any fencing and boarding off the view! But since these last few years, if you don’t go to a certain spot HOURS before after having purchased a ticket, you have no chance for a reasonable space anywhere. Plus they fence off certain spots with high wooden boards so that those who don’t have a ticket have their view blocked.

The only thing I am not keen on with the fireworks is that they put music in the background since a few years now. The idea is to use only music by British artists, which makes sense, although this year they seem to have chosen a mix of international artists as a statement with Brexit at the door. But in the early years of the fireworks there was no music and you could just enjoy the pure display of light and sound which I always called the “Big Bang” at the Big Ben.

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye29 British Airways sign

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye4

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye7

 

 

2000-7-27-London-Eye3.jpg

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye25

 

 

2000-7-27 London Eye14

July 2000

 

Like with most things, everything becomes commercial. When I worked in the city until 3 or 4pm on New Year’s eve, I had to rush to get over the river to the south side where I live, as they started to close down streets and bridges in preparation for the crowds. If you missed it you were stuck on the north side and had to take the cramped underground home. But I always try to avoid having to take the Tube and either walk or take the bus, anything to stay over ground.

The last time I saw the fireworks by the river was from behind it in 2014 into 2015. I didn’t pay much attention that I didn’t receive a text message from my brother as this was not unusual. Sometimes on New Year’s Eve he would text me to wish me a happy new year as Germany is 1 hour ahead of England. Other times I would text him when he was at a party having forgotten to text. Other times we both didn’t text or in the early years of mobile phone where we’d call for a minute. And oddly enough the only text message I still have was his reply in early January 2013 to wish me a happy new year. I always deleted text messages from everyone and regret that now. But this one text I still have.

I watched the fireworks for the last time live up close on 31. Dec. 2014 not knowing my brother has died weeks prior. It didn’t worry me that there was no message from him as this was always random over the years. In January 2013 he even replied to my New Year’s greeting a few days after 1st January. Other times he texted on the dot of 12 midnight. Other times not at all. We were never very traditional in our family and communication was completely free of expectations. But I did sent my brother and friends the YouTube link to the fireworks on 01. January every year. He loved fireworks, and in Germany people do their own on the streets at midnight, and my brother was always the first and last to blow up rockets fearlessly!

Would I want tradition now? I don’t know. A certain consistency and predictability is always good I think. But my focus now is just taking one day at a time and always know that life can change in a second.

I just enjoy the fireworks from afar on a screen and from my balcony.

Happy New Year to everyone, where ever you are. May this year be kind to you, and if life hits from all directions or an unexpected angle, may you find solid footing to have strength and eventually peace.

 

01.01.2019 London Fireworks

 

Link

 

Plus, a little beautiful behind the scenes look at the logistics and preps for the fireworks. Fascinating how detailed and precise planning of many brilliant minds can make something like this happen:

 

 

And another view from the ground for the technical minded, but as a direct link from one angle only and from several angles.

 

 

©2019 poetrasblok.com

Unless otherwise stated or linked to, this website and all writings within this site are the property of poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org and are protected by copyright and other intellectual property laws. Reproduction and distribution of my writings without written permission are prohibited.

©2017 – 2019 poetrasblok.com, LateNightGirl.org, LateNightGirl.page.tl unless otherwise stated. All Rights reserved. Disclaimer.